Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Living With Kassams

Most people give me strange looks when I say that I don't consider my life in Shiloh to be particularly dangerous. Just recently, I spoke to a busload of American university students. They could barely relate to what I was saying, when I talked about pre-schoolers visiting friends on their own and creating their own social lives. They didn't contradict me when I said that I was sure that where they grew up, they hardly did any traveling on their own until they had drivers licenses.

Unfortunately, even in Israel, there are places one can't allow children the freedom and independence I consider so vital. That's especially the case in southern Israel, to where for years, the nearby Arab terrorists have been aiming their missiles.

A couple of posts ago, I posted a very moving video by Dana, a young woman from Kibbutz Nir-Am. Sara Shomron, who also posts on this blog, found me an article by Dana's mother. I highly suggest that you read the entire article. Here are a few passages:

Living with Kassamson Kibbutz Nir-Am
Marcell Bar-On

"...Nir-Am’s location - between the Northern Negev town of Sderot and Beit Hanoun, the Palestinian town where most of the Kassam rocket attacks originate - has been devastating for our community and has turned a small piece of heaven into a living hell. Every bomb that falls in Sderot travels over our kibbutz, and almost every bomb that falls short, falls in Nir-Am, bothin the living areas and in our fields. Nir-Am has suffered more attacks than any other communityoutside of Sderot. Since 2000, 90 Kassam bombs have fallen among the houses and childrens’ houses of Nir-Am and another 500 have fallen in the surrounding fields, killing livestock and setting our crops on fire. When the news reports speak of bombs falling in ‘open areas’ it usually means that they have fallen in Nir-Am.
The attacks are unprovoked, unpredictable and continuous, and their effect has been close to catastrophic for us, both economically and psychologically. Our every action, our every waking moment, is geared toward minimizing the impact of living under enemy fire. Our first concern is always for our elderly and our children...
...The effect has been most obvious on our children. At home, bedwetting, aggressive behavior, extreme mood swings, insomnia, loss of appetite... and at school, lack of concentration, absenteeism, hyperactivity, outbursts of anger and physical and verbal aggression. But no one is spared the psychological warfare of which we are all victims, almost as many adults are in counseling as are children in an attempt to cope with the harsh reality of our daily lives. In fact, as parents we carry the additional burden of guilt for not being able to protect our children, we feel responsible for what is happening to them...
...And so to our personal Chanukah miracle. On the first day of Chanukah this year, at 6.30am, a Kassam bomb fell less than five meters from where my son Gabi and daughter Mayan were sleeping. I had been busy in my home office when the Tzeva Adom alarm sounded. I could not hear the children running for our little “safe corner” and I immediately realized that they had not heard the alarm and were still asleep in their beds, even as the bomb was on its way from Gaza. I ran in the direction of their bedroom, shouting for them to wake up, as I reached the bedroom door they jumped from their beds but a second later the bomb struck..."


Anonymous said...

I have no sympathy for that woman from Nir Am whose kibbutz couldn't wait to see people gone from Gush Katif.

Batya said...

Yes, considering how her daughter's suffering and they don't have the common sense to put 2 + 2 together. That is the most pathetic and the most dangerous point. They don't see the connections at all.

Sara Layah said...

Anonymous and Bayta,
In MHO this is not a time for bitterness, quarreling or questioning cause and effect. Right now we are finally fighting the war - let's not weaken ourselves by fighting each other. Have we learned nothing?

Batya said...

Sarah Layah, that's why I posted it.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

Isn't it interesting that neither one of these women even mentioned the expulsion? What is even more astounding is that even now, when all of the predictions made have unfortunately proven to be correct, kibbutznikim still believe that the expulsion was the right thing to do. For some people not even a smack on the head is enough to awaken them.
I think that we should be dealing with the concept of cause and effect. Too many people do not understand the concept and should be helped to do so.
Israel is unfortunately not fighting a war. Certain unscrupulous politicians are improving their ratings in the polls. We should all brace ourselves for the hard times that await us after the elections.
Last but not least, we should pray for the kibbutzim, even though they're sleeping in the bed that they made for themselves. Their children are certainly innocent.
Hadassa DeYoung, K'far Darom/Elon Moreh

Batya said...

Yes, Hadassa, it is frightening that nothing seems to get throught to them. They refuse to think.

My feeling is that to accept the truth would force them to face many more things they'd rather avoid. It would show that almost their entire way of life is based on a lie. I wrote "almost," because at least they are in Eretz Yisrael.